“Why does she have that doll up there?” Maybe we all have asked that question a time or two. Maybe not with the same words about the same person. But the underlying question is still the same. Why is that person different from me? Why do I feel uncomfortable? 

It's been said that you only grow when you step out of your comfort zone. Understanding innate human differences is a step in the right direction. “Maggie” shows us how. We can be like her father and simply accept the fact that people are different from us and always will be. Or we can be like her stepmother Linda and have to learn it over time, but, just like Linda, we have to decide to do it. 

The screenplay is dynamic because we see Linda’s journey of having to learn to see the world from Maggie’s point of view, “adults delusion themselves…” She struggles to balance giving orders/threats to her step-daughter and giving love as a mother. She needs to get down on Maggie’s level, both literally and emotionally. She wants to respect her husband, Paul, but feels the shadow of his previous marriage. 

Maggie needs love and support. She gets bullied too much. She misses her mother. Her dad and doll, Olive, seem to be the only ones to understand her. Her personal conflict is to accept that her mom is gone and that Linda is in her life now. She relies on her father and Olive to give her confidence. She has to come to terms with the fact that Linda can give her the love and trust she seeks. 

Paul has to have patience while his two loved ones sort out their differences. Sometimes being the peacemaker isn’t always easy. He has to be a caring husband and a father during a time of emotional stress for his family. 

All three are experiencing the realization that the past is not the present. There are a lot of moments of tension, quiet reflection, and real-life reactions to situations. Their story is a heartbreaking/heartwarming human story that we all can learn from. 

The animation and music mixed with real life is seamless, fun, and brings Maggie’s world to life. It enhances the feel of the story by drawing you in. You get to see the world as she sees it, full of monsters and fiends. 

I loved that Maggie was a redheaded girl with an overly active imagination. It can represent autism and can represent any differences a person might have. The point is that if they can learn to love each other, so can we. How do we love? How do we support? We have to learn to communicate with each other and see the world from a different perspective. It takes effort and can’t be done by just sitting around the house complaining. 

The answer to our question about Maggie is the same answer for all of us—"She just needs to do it her own way.” Give each other permission to be different.